Aufbereitungsanlagen (Preparation Plants)

Bernd Becher

Siegen, France, 1931 - Rostock, Germany, 2007

Hilla Becher

Potsdam, Germany, 1934 - Düsseldorf, Germany, 2015
  • Date: 
    1966-1976 / Vintage print, 1977
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Each part: 23,5 x 30,5 cm / Overall: 92 x 107,3 cm
  • Category: 
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The photographs that make up the series Preparation Plants, taken between 1966 and 1976, are a representative example of the work of husband and wife Bernd and Hilla Becher. The Bechers first collaborated in 1959 in Germany and, over five decades, they dedicated themselves to photographing industrial and engineering structures such as water towers, blast furnaces and mine heads. In total, they built up a collection of 16,000 negatives, never straying from their systematic methodology: black and white photographs taken straight-on using long exposures on overcast days. The presentation of the resultant images is equally systematic, and completes the Bechers’ trademark style: documentary photographs of industrial archaeology grouped by “typology” and set out in grids.
The influence of the Bechers’ output was transcendental in the evolution of the arts during the latter half of the 20th century, because of the dual artistic and pedagogic work behind it. As well as establishing a new aesthetic halfway between photographic minimalism and conceptual art, they were also teachers of the group known as the Düsseldorf School (consisting of photographers such as Andreas Gursky, Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer and Axel Hütte) and a driving force behind the New Objectivity in photography.

Concha Calvo Salanova